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Passenger Ship Technology

Austal’s ‘watershed’ contract: next-generation trimarans for Fred Olsen

Mon 09 Oct 2017 by Rebecca Moore reporting from the Interferry conference, Croatia

Austal’s ‘watershed’ contract: next-generation trimarans for Fred Olsen
Fred Olsen SA’s Benchijigua Express will be joined by two more trimarans, to be built by Austal (credit: Waldemar Jan)

Austal has announced a “watershed” contract valued at €126M (US$148M) to design and build two 117 m high-speed vehicle passenger trimaran ferries for Fred Olsen SA of the Canary Islands, Spain.

The aluminium trimarans, designed by Austal Australia, will be the second and third trimarans to be delivered to Fred Olsen which already operates the world’s first and largest trimaran vehicle passenger ferry, Benchijigua Express – designed and built by Austal in 2005.

Austal chief executive David Singleton said “It is truly exciting to announce this major shipbuilding contract with Fred Olsen, who had the courage and foresight to work with Austal’s advanced trimaran technology in developing the Benchijigua Express in 2005.

“The Benchijigua Express has become an industry benchmark for blue-water commercial ferry operations, exceeding expectations for performance, speed and customer experience in the Canary Islands.”

Austal vice president of sales and marketing Ben Marland added “This is a watershed contract for our next-generation trimaran design that will deliver new levels of seakeeping, passenger comfort and efficiency and proves the trimaran is the right tool for the job in the challenging sea conditions of the Atlantic. It is a game-changer in the market.”

The two new trimarans will each be capable of transporting over 1,100 passengers and up to 276 cars at speeds of up to 38 knots, with both commencing construction in 2018. The vessels are due for delivery in 29 and 36 months. Austal said that the build location of the vessels will be announced separately.

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